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Saudi Arabia Investing SR 502bn in Water and Energy While Qatar Investing USD 200bn in Infrastructure and Set to Experience 6.5% Increase in Real GDP

Middle East : 12 April 2013

Saudi Set to Invest SR 502 Billion in Water and Energy

As energy consumption in Saudi Arabia grows at unparalleled rates, the kingdom pledges to invest SR 502.5bn for water and power generation projects over the next ten years, according to official sources.

Saudi Arabia maintains the third highest level of water consumption in the world, coming in at 290L/day per capita. In response, Saudi has marked SR 205bn for water projects scheduled for completion by 2022. Spending on energy projects is forecasted to reach SR 30bn, with a recent lighting project award of SR 13.875bn.

All components of the energy sector will be showcased at Saudi Energy 2013, including modern lighting brands, HVAC, technologies in the water industry, renewable energy, alternative energy, distribution and generation.

This convention has increased with the growth of the Kingdom’s energy sector, becoming well established as the premier event for players in the energy sector, including buyers, investors and government representatives.

Saudi Energy 2013’s project manager, Khaled Daou, noted that development in the social and economic spheres have driven energy consumption higher. With requirements reaching new heights every year, Daou highlighted the innovations and new technologies appearing in the Saudi Arabian market to complement government efforts.

Exhibitors recognize surging opportunities within the Kingdom’s market and participation in Saudi Energy 2013 reflects that recognition. Running from May 26 to May 29, Saudi Energy 2013 will be held in Riyadh at the International Convention & Exhibition Centre. Exhibitors from a wide range of nations will be present, including those from Canada, France, Korea, Austria, China and Taiwan. Several national pavilions are also on the agenda.

USD 200 Billion Marked for Major Qatari Projects

His Excellency Yousuf Hussein Kamal, Qatari Minister of Economy & Finance Spending, announced $200 billion in infrastructure spending, with $140 billion scheduled for spending within a five-year period.

Kamal noted the importance of infrastructure and mentioned several major projects, including a seaport, airport and rail system. Over the next decade, Qatar plans to spend around $200 billion and anticipates the benefits of the investment will spread beyond Qatari borders and into the surrounding region.

Sustainable development and a more diversified economy are included in the long-term strategy for Qatar, as outlined in the National Vision 2030. Promotion of a private sector with greater competition and the support of a modern public sector is another major goal, as is further development in the asset management sector as a path to economic diversification, according to the minister.

Developments within Qatar’s infrastructure are expected to open up several investment and funding opportunities aimed in particular at the private sector. Kamal also noted that bonds, Sukuk issues, financing and partnerships between the public and private sector will be generated by this infrastructure spending.
Qatar’s commitment to creating a strong financial services sector is evidenced by the nation’s actions in participating and supporting the Bloomberg Doha conference. In terms of macro-economics, Kamal noted that Qatar maintains one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world, along with one of the highest levels of per capita income. Average annual growth of 13% occurred from 2008 to 2012.

Kamal noted that Qatar’s standard of living has reached a level similar to those in leading industrial countries. He also stated that Qatar is home to the greatest percentage of wealthy millionaires and those with high net worth.

The nation has emerged as a leader in the Arab region, with a strong economic and political stability. Kamal noted that Qatari leadership remains committed to maintaining the nation’s leading position and growing Qatar’s influence worldwide.

Real GDP to Increase by 6.5 Percent in Qatar

Qatar’s real GDP growth rate is forecasted to hit 6.5 percent in 2013 and 6.8 percent next year, driven by greater diversification in the economy and better performance in non-oil industries, according to QNB Group.

Substantial revenue from the hydrocarbon sector supports massive government spending on developing infrastructure, as evidenced in the recent 2013 to 2014 budget.

As the 2022 FIFA World Cup approaches, the manufacturing sector is gaining momentum as more projects are rolled out to help diversify the economy and expand non-oil industries, according to the recent QNB report.

QNB recently assessed the preliminary data for last year’s GDP, calculating 6.2 percent growth in real GDP, a figure 0.4 percent higher than the bank’s original projections. Businesses within the non-hydrocarbon sector contributed to the majority of growth, with 10 percent expansion in 2012.

The non-carbon sector recorded a 42.2 percent share in the total economy, up from a 40.7 percent share the previous year. The oil and gas sector experienced only 1.7 percent growth, with higher levels of gas productions at the new GTL facility offsetting a decline in crude production.

Manufacturing recorded 11.8 percent growth, a strong figure supported by increased production and new facilities in fertilizers and petrochemicals.

Government services expanded by 11.5 percent last year, mainly due to the support of public spending in education, administration and health care. This growth pattern is expected to continue, as announcements in the recent budget include a 21 percent increase in capital spending and a 16 percent increase in current spending.

More activities and projects during the last six months of 2012 caused a boost in communication and transport (12.1 percent growth), as well as construction (10.6 percent). As government capital spending rises, continued growth is expected for this year and next.

The financial services industry reported 6.7 percent growth, a slower rate than other industries in the non-hydrocarbon sector. Financial services should experience a positive surge in 2013 and 2014, as major projects in the rail and road industries begin.

Trade and hotels and restaurants reported 7.7 percent growth last year, as a result of a growing population. Qatar experienced a 6.6 percent population increase last year. This year’s y-o-y growth rate has risen to 8.5 percent thus far, providing further support for these industries. The government continues to promote Qatar as a conference destination, boosting revenues in trade and hotels and restaurants.

Plans to drive economic diversification are well underway, as indicated by robust real GDP growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector, according to the QNB report.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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